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  #1  
Old 10-20-2017, 03:15 PM
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The Beauty and the Beast with Tigers in between.

I am remaking a more generic thread for conversations that will add a great deal to characterization but might not belong in the main game thread where things might move along faster and not sustain such longer interludes.
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Old 10-22-2017, 10:51 PM
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At the town hall with Oota
Winter thanked the page when he showed them to their room for the night and looked around at their accommodations with slight apprehension. She would have been more at ease with one of her new friends, but the sorceress had decided to stop shutting everyone out and admittedly was interested in the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Oota. During the evening she had been pondering the ogrekin and wondering what kind of owner he had, what he had been through to turn out the way he did.

While she had a healthy respect for the law in general and appreciated the necessity of law and order, Winter had learned years ago that just because something is doesn't mean it should be, and she viewed the laws regarding slavery with disgust. If a race was completely antithetical to ordered society then it should be eliminated, but if it were like every other race with good and bad seeds, then each should be judged on their own merit. If the human who turned to rape and murder never had to initially earn his freedom, then the subjugated hobgoblin who lived his life in service and kindness should never have been a slave in the first place.

Never one to be too careful, she reached out with her magic, checking the room for any magical auras or oddities. Finding nothing, Winter sighed not for the first time that evening and entered the room. Lena padded over to one of the corners to lay down, and Winter followed, dropping down and leaning back against the tiger. She pulled a lock and lockpick from her pack and began working with the internal mechanisms.

When Oota entered the room, Winter spoke without looking up from her work. "Lena and I... most people look at us and see a pet and an owner, a beast and her master. I can't really blame them, I think it's just our nature to group things together, but animals are just as different from each other as humans or dwarves or any other race. Very few have gotten the chance or taken the time to see just how special Lena is, even I'm still learning things about her." Lena lifted her head off the floor and started licking Winter's arm, making the sorceress smile. "What most people don't understand though, is that she's my friend, my family. While I'm certain she would do anything I asked of her, it's because she cares about me as much as I care about her... probably more. It's not because I own her, because I don't. I've never seen her that way, and I never will." The soft sound of metal on metal that had been present the whole time quieted as Winter looked up with a warm smile. "I meant what I said earlier, it was an honor to stand next to you against that... thing. You're a fierce and brave warrior. Where did you learn to fight so well?"
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:47 AM
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Between the Lines...When Oota was led to the chambers alongside Winter, the tall ogrekin was feeling strange. He didn't know how to interact with the page that guided them, so Oota bowed deeply to the servant. Then he followed the noble sorceress as the night slowly passed. He had been quiet during the meal, though not necessarily silent, for true silence can be a rude thing.

Oota considered how to offer his aid to the lady, but Winter's actions were quick and efficient. He knew the sound of magic being used, considering he had magic in his own blood, and then he watched as the pair cuddled in the corner. Since the atmosphere was somewhat relaxed, Oota simply knelt by the wall, keeping his mind ready to set about whatever task was needed from him. Then Winter began to speak, and Oota let out a grunt, to let her know that he heard her, though it took some time before the ogrekin spoke.

Though the room was relaxed, Oota felt an odd tension as he tried to wrap his mind around the events of the day. He loved battle and training, a place where a Bloodwatch is almost a free person. But opening himself to the passions necessary had a side effect on the large slave. He reflected on his own emotions as Winter began to fiddle with a lock. He remembered the excitement of facing a demon, of seeing his skilled companions. He loved the prospect that perhaps his strength would be useful. But there were other things, emotions that disturbed Oota more than that. The warm feeling when he briefly held Winter's hand. His envy of Lena. The brief exchange he held with the Mayor. The uncertainty of how to address a dragon. His plea and warning about the peace.

His thoughts were turbulent, though he did his utmost to banish any emotion that were connected to them, 'Maybe my master's idea was a bad one. Already there have been many temptations to abandon proper action. The mayor dislikes slavery, though many seem to. But his anger triggered my own too... why? Maybe things are changing in the empire faster than I thought. But none of this will ever end in my lifetime, and I doubt I'll live to see my freedom... And Lady Winter... why is she bothering to talk to me? What is she even talking about?'

Oota was slightly confused at what Winter was saying, but he was smart enough to know that the words had deeper meaning than the surface of her speech, which was why he took his time to chew on the words. When he finally spoke, his gravelly voice was as soft and respectful as ever, "Thank you for sharing with me, Milady. Lena is lucky to be your friend. And... if I may be bold, you are also lucky to be hers. I saw right away that what you both have is special." Oota paused there, as he tried to keep his thoughts organized and his emotions at bay. Emotions can only be released for certain things.

The ogrekin adjusted his legs in his sitting position, because the man is unaccustomed to sharing much of anything. Only four people in Valejo knew more than his slave facade, and even among those, only Mikhaela had any insight to his hidden inner self. Another moment passed before Oota began speaking again, "But not all beasts are so lucky. And... what is even less known... is that no true beast can ever be truly controlled. There's more to it... there's always more. The biggest issue, is that very few people get close to the beasts. For those who live among men, there's an opportunity... and a pitfall. If Lena were to turn on you, those who do not know the beasts might assume that all of them are vicious and need to be controlled or killed. But you and Lena also have a relationship that might help those to learn how man and beast can complement the other."

As Oota finished his thought, he dropped his eyes and stared at the floor. He wondered if Winter understood the deeper meaning of his words, which correlated to his beliefs and wishes. But he was scared that in revealing himself to her might come back to haunt him. He wondered why he had bothered to speak, what it was about Winter that touched him so deeply. She was beautiful, but it was much more than that. She was magnetic and held a presence that was almost overwhelming. Not like Leilani's angelic surprise, but just as compelling.

The ogrekin closed his eyes for a moment, stole a brief glance to the sorceress and her tiger, then spoke again, a little bit more confident than before, "You do me too much honor, Milady. My master is quick to boast of my prowess to others. I am Bloodwatch, who are trained for five years before they can bear the mark. And I am one of, if not the greatest Bloodwatch to ever live, according to my master. I was well trained, then thrown into the fire of battle and work. But it runs deeper than that... My bloodline is especially savage and potent. You wield magic Milady, so you likely saw the signs of it in the battle. The training made me more skilled, but I would have always been fiercer than most could imagine. I am a monster. Because of what I am, my prowess means nothing. It's you, and the others, that were much more impressive Milady. Maybe I will be blessed in learning more, in time."

Last edited by JackinIrons; 10-23-2017 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:41 PM
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No more subtletyWinter continued fiddling with her tools while Oota spoke, but it was clear she was paying close attention to his words. She sensed a struggle inside the ogrekin between how he wanted to view himself and how he was supposed to view himself, or at least how his master wanted him to view himself. She hoped she never met the man as such a meeting wouldn't be likely to end well for anyone.

When he finished speaking, Winter abruptly dropped the lock she was working on and turned to fully face Oota, her gaze intense and frigid. "I am going to speak plainly Oota. Lest you have me completely fooled, and I am not easily fooled, you are no monster." There was a clear tone of something in her voice, almost like pride, but without the taint of ego. She seemed completely self-assured of what she was saying. "Do you lie, cheat, and steal? Do you beat women and children? Do you murder or rape? I don't think you do. In fact, I think you recoil at the thought. You even refuse to speak ill of a master who only values you for your prowess, and I dare say it's not out of fear of punishment, but out of your own sense of honor and status." She stared at him for several long moments, almost as if daring him to deny it. "I don't take well to hearing people disparage my friends, so hear me well. You. Are. No. Monster." Winter looked livid, the torrent of emotion clearly rising to the surface, but the anger wasn't directed toward Oota.

"You are terrifying to your foes, of that I have no doubt. So am I. You are proud of your capabilities. So am I. You are loyal and care about those around you. So do I. Do you think I am a monster?" Winter laughed at that, though what she found funny wasn't immediately clear. "Can I tell you something? When Lena first came to me, I thought she was going to kill me. I had done something... something beastly, and I thought she was sent as punishment. We're all capable of doing terrible things, but it isn't our capabilities that define us, it's the things we do. In that moment, I saw myself as a monster, but Lena didn't come to punish me. She came to accept me and love me, and in doing so, she saved me. I've barely spoken to another person in years, and suddenly within the span of two days, I found myself making several new friends. Maybe it's just coincidence, but I think the gods send us to meet each other at times when we need it most. In those times, I think each person has something to offer the other."

She went quite for a minute as the anger faded from her system, and a much more somber look came over her face. "The truth is, you're far more honorable than I am." She held up a hand to cut off his protest, "I was born into privilege, as well as responsibility, but when the time came for me to take up that mantle, I fled. I... I can't explain why, not right now, but suffice it to say I'm ashamed of myself. I look at you, and I think in my place you would have stayed. You would have done the right thing." Suddenly Winter reached out and grasped Oota's hand, squeezing it firmly. "I will not treat you like a beast and I do not see you as any lesser than myself. I expect nothing from you, you don't exist to serve me... you shouldn't exist to serve anyone. I just ask one favor of you, that you don't think so poorly of yourself. You deserve a good life."

With a final squeeze of his hand, Winter pulled back and resumed her attempt to figure out the lock, giving Oota the time and space he needed to ponder her words.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:09 AM
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What is a Monster?Oota sat there with his head down as he contemplated his own words and his own complex emotions, and in that moment he knew fear. Fear of what he was, and of what he could be. And fear, mingled with resignation, that he would never know the life he desired. Oota heard a thud, as the device fell, and in his periphery vision he could see the sorceress stir before him. Winter's gaze drilled into his soul with a frigidity that made him wish he was out on the street. He closed his eyes, wishing he had his words back, but when the woman spoke, the ogrekin listened.

Winter's words surprised him as he gazed into the floor, but the words filled the slave with a series of emotions that the beautiful woman probably hadn't intended. He felt pain, and he felt rage as he called the events of his life to his mind. He felt a strong desire to lash out at the woman, but those emotions were stifled. His visage remained impassive, with the only sign of his discomfort was his left hand. He gripped his leg tightly as he tried to make the physical pain override his mental struggle. He could hear the fabric of his trousers rip from the force of his immense strength.

But Winter continued to speak, and Oota continued to listen. And then, when the woman took his hand into her own, he dared to look at her once more. He was helpless as he looked into Winter's piercing blue gaze, as his mind struggled to comprehend her words, her anger, and her acceptance. Her words were everything that he wished to hear, but at that moment, they only evoked agony. It took several heartbeats, but the slave finally tore his eyes away as the sorceress released her grip of his hand.

As he struggled to bring his state of mind back into check, the ogrekin released an animalistic growl, 'Remember, Oota. Remember who you are. What you are...' He silently reminded himself of his own reality, of the life he lived and accepted. He knew that wishing for something was a useless endeavor. When he finally spoke, his voice was as composed and polite as ever, though his words were more direct than they had been before, "You're right in many ways, Milady... but, you also know nothing of certain things. I always follow the law, and try to be as proper as I can be. And you are as dangerous as I am, or maybe even more deadly. But you assume that there is only one type of monster..."

Oota let loose a sigh as he tried to keep his mind in check, continuing to speak his mind, "The monster you speak of is the truest kind. But, sometimes a monster is a warning. A fear of what might be, an example of what comes when lines are crossed. I am the other. You see me as I am, no different than you or the other guardians. There are very few beings who do, though. Every day I am reminded that I am not one of you. Every day, I endure the looks of fear, pity and revulsion. Every day, it is made clear that I don't belong here. The world would be a better place without me. Pay attention tomorrow, and see it for yourself, Milady."

Oota grunted and placed his head in his hands for a moment, before looking back towards the sorceress once more, "As for the rest... I would never pry into your affairs, Milady. But I'm not sure if you're right. I am the way you see me, because of the necessity of life. Of how I was raised. Without those circumstances, I might be different. But I don't deserve a good life. By all rights, I should be dead..." Oota trailed off, trying again to look through the floorboards, as he silently cursed himself and the compelling woman before him. He didn't know if he could bring himself to tell the story linked to those last words he spoke.

Last edited by JackinIrons; 10-29-2017 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:01 PM
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Raw Reflections
Winter watched Oota struggle with his emotions and wondered if she was only making things worse. She wondered if she was doing the right thing in pushing the warrior. It had all started with his comment about the complexities of beasts outside the city walls, and Winter felt that was the door to something he needed to talk about with someone, even if he didn't necessarily want to. As she had recently rediscovered, sometimes painful discussions were cathartic. Then again, maybe she was just sticking her nose where it didn't belong, taking advantage of Oota's desires to serve and please to force him into a conversation he didn't want to have.

Still, she pushed, for backing out now would cause the pain that had been stirred up to be for nothing. "There is a contradiction in your words. You say that I see you as you are, and those who send you looks of fear and revulsion do not, so why would their opinions be a valid reflection of your worth? I don't think you realize Oota, nor do they, but when people look at you they are seeing a reflection of themselves. If someone judges your heart differently than mine because of the differences of our skin, then which one of us is the monster? If someone pities you because of your status, is that a reflection on you or on the institution of slavery? You may not belong here as a slave, but that doesn't mean you don't belong. It doesn't mean you deserve any less than the rest of us."

Growing frustrated with her lack of progress, Winter put the lock and tools away and began rubbing her temples. "Try as I might, I can never get that damn thing to open. There's only so much I can do with magic, I don't want to be completely reliant on it..." With another sigh, she reclined further against Lena and looked up at the ceiling. Reaching up, she whispered a word, and several small spheres of light appeared in the air and started leisurely chasing each other around the room. Feeling some of the tension slip from her neck, she whispered once again, and a soft tinkling sound began to emanate from each of the spheres as they moved. The tension in the room lifted, providing something to focus on outside of their conversation.

While conducting her little magical performance, Winter spoke again, her voice returning to a softer state. "I apologize Oota, my intent was neither to pry nor to cause you discomfort. We can speak of easier things if you wish, but I want you to know that I won't break your confidence. Whatever is said tonight will stay between us." She paused, unsure if it was wise to press further, but the sorceress was nothing if not hard-headed. She wanted to give him another opportunity to change the subject without the feeling of obligation. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to, but what would you do with your freedom? What would you think of yourself and your place then?"
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:13 AM
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Thoughts Filled with UncertaintyOota remained still, with his eyes on the floorboards, but his thoughts were of deeper things. Things that he could scarcely imagine. Winter pressed on in her speech, and he could feel that her intentions were good, but he could also feel himself hardening at her words. Was he truly contradicting himself? He wasn't sure about that. But the more the powerful woman spoke, the more he began to doubt the entire world that he knew, 'I wish she'd stop talking. I'm... am I wrong? It's important that the people see me, or... my kind as what they are, but is their fear really their fault and not ours? It can't be that simple. And... well, there are still things she doesn't know.'

The ogrekin's thoughts were interrupted as the sorceress spoke of easier things. The lock and the magic. He threw a glance at it and shrugged lightly, though for the first time since the battle, Oota smiled very lightly. He considered speaking, but he settled with watching her magical performance. And he listened to her last words. After a moment, Oota shook his head, "I've never bothered with locks. It's always easier to simply break the door at its weakest point. But... I am a monster." He paused, looking at Winter with a surprisingly impish grin, before speaking again and hoping she doesn't yell at him further.

"I wonder what I would do... Just so you know, I do know that the institution is wrong. It isn't fair that we should be judged based on our ancestors. But the law can't be ignored. It's there for the benefit of society, and that's more important than individuals most of the time. And you're wrong in thinking that their looks don't matter. Nobody lives independent of the thoughts and actions of others. And it's easier for them that I am a slave. If I were not, perhaps many of the looks of pity would turn into fear. And none of that changes the last bit... It isn't fair that I'm still living." Oota paused again, clearing his throat and returning his thoughts to the last of Winter's question.

The towering beast leaned back against the wall and gazed up at the ceiling before speaking again, "I... I don't think I'll gain my freedom until I am old and useless, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to hope. What would I do... I don't really know. If things were set in stone, I... I would like to free as many of my people as I can, so I can teach them to fit in within the empire. My master owns quite a few slaves, and those who grew up away from Valejo can be hard to deal with. They only seem to react to strength, or prowess, at least at first. But that's assuming I'll be allowed to be completely free. I imagine... if I am young enough to be of use, the Empire would prefer if I stepped into a military role. Bloodwatch training is extensive after all, and I know little of life outside of battle and duty. Maybe I could strike a compromise, if I had support. Instead of slavery, those few captured slaves could be released to my custody where they can serve in a different way. But such thoughts are usually useless. It's best to attend to reality." Oota stopped talking again, though his lips moved slightly before clamping shut. He had been about to ask what happened to make her so different from others, but he couldn't bring himself to act so brazenly. He already felt embarrassed enough from what he had spoken up to this point.
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:12 AM
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An Impromptu Proposition
When Oota joked about being a monster, Winter looked over at him, saw his grin, and let out a heartfelt laugh. The lights in the room danced as if laughing along, and the weight of their conversation seemed to lessen in that moment. "Well, you might not be able to tell by looking at me, but I'm not strong enough to smash something like this." she said jokingly.

She watched him struggle with his thoughts and words, with his dreams, and with the future he saw as inevitable. "I don't think such thoughts are useless at all. You could rebel against the system you were forced into, you could hate it, or you could try and do something about it. It's noble that you want to improve it." She paused for a moment, then looked back over at him, eyes reflecting the lights in the room. "I respect that Oota, you have no idea. I've been lost for a long time, wandering without any real direction. Finding out my homeland was under attack gave me a purpose I've needed, but it won't last. I'll need something else to work for when we're done with all of this. Left to myself, well, I don't really want to go back to that. So what if I supported you? What if we worked together?"
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:13 AM
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Ways to go ForwardOota chanced a glance at the woman as she made a joke to pair with his own, but the only hint of a reaction was the ghost of a smile, before his eyes drifted back to the floorboards. He heard her praise, though it wasn't something that he felt good about - he was supposed to do his duties unnoticed. Besides, he didn't know of anything else he could do. Abadar upheld the law, and he believed in the necessity of civilization. And the one he lived it, was one where he could exist... the only way forward, within the all important law was reform.

He struggled through his embarrassment, as he listened to Winter speak to him. At the mention of her homeland being under attack, his head tilted as he wondered if it would be acceptable to offer his aid. He would, if it didn't distract from his real duties. But the next bit... an unexpected proposition felt like he had been kicked in the head, it was so surprising to him. His eyes widened in display of that surprise, but his gravelly voice was composed as he responded, "If I understand right, Milady... that is the kind of thing that needs to happen. My efforts are less important. It is people like you and... and Lady Fairchilde that would bring change. I would gladly work with you, Milady. In many things... as long as it is lawful." This time he gave a true smile, though as it bared his sharp teeth he wondered how monstrous he appeared then. After a moment, he dared to ask a single question, "Milady... forgive me if this is too forward, but what happened in your homeland?"
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:57 AM
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A Question for a Question
Winter smiled at Oota's concern. "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I wasn't clear enough. This is my homeland." she held out her arms to indicate the general area around them. "The attack I spoke of is what we are facing now, together. Strictly speaking, I'm from Strathwood, east of here on the way to Chantry, but if Valejo falls to this evil, so will the rest of the north." Her visage darkened at the mention of her hometown, but she didn't offer anything further.

"As to the other matter, I'll keep saying it until you start believing it. Your efforts would be every bit as important as mine if we were to do this. What do I really know of the struggles of your people? What do I really know of the weight of your chains?" Her mind was working quickly now, looking ahead at possibilities and shortfalls. "How could I be expected to connect with and help guide them the way you could? And it's not just your people either, none should be enslaved if they are willing to work with the peoples of Origin."

She paused lest she get too far ahead of herself, pulled herself back into the moment, and directed her gaze back to Oota again. "And don't worry, I won't ask you to break the law. We would do it the right way." Another pause, it was clear that Winter didn't like the way Oota thought of himself, it only served to fuel her anger at the system that caused him to be that way. "I think I understand your thoughts and feelings, in part. When you defend Valejo, you're only doing what is required and expected of you. When I defend Valejo, it is somehow more valorous and honorable. But that's not true Oota, for I have no doubt that you would come to my aid sooner than many other free folk, even without the shackles around your body and mind. Maybe that wasn't who you were in the past, but it is who you are now." She paused again, considering a question that she wasn't sure if she should ask earlier, but they seemed to be opening up to each other well. "You've mentioned twice that you shouldn't be alive. Would you mind if I asked why you say that?"
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:38 AM
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Painful MemoriesAs Winter clarified what she said before about her homeland, Oota gave a slight nod of understanding. He had recognized the noble name she bore, though he knew little else of the House. Not even the slightest whisper of activity among the trade routes and he had always wondered what that meant. Having met Winter, he was sure that they weren't into anything bad, considering her will to protect the land and even more so because of her stance on slaves. He did note that her face seemed to change as she mentioned Strathwood, but he didn't feel that he had the right to pursue any line of questioning further. Even if he did, the sorceress moved on to speak further of his own doubts.

Her words touched him, but not as positively as they might have anyone else. The ogrekin turned his face away again and took a steadying breath. His thoughts began to flow freely as she continued, 'Stubborn woman... I will never be as important as she. I will keep going because I must, but there's no use believing a lie...' She continued to speak as he kept pondering her words. Her assurance did make him feel grateful, but he could scarcely help thinking of her as naive as she spoke. She was right in some things... he was so used to fighting and protecting that he doubted if he could do anything else. Ever. But aside from his skill, and arguably his valor, his influence would always be limited. He was about to give her some lip service, so she would stop insisting on such things, but he didn't get the chance as she spoke a difficult question.

"I... I... Um..." Oota stuttered and felt as if he had been struck, even though she was right. This was done by his own words, and he felt his own burning feelings rise. He closed his eyes tightly and lowered his head further, his back arched and rounded as his forehead touched the floor, his thoughts raggedly assaulting his senses, 'What did you do, Fool! Why... why... This woman! Why are you telling her so much? Because she held your hand? Gaaah!!! Be strong... control yourself. Be what you are... Know your place.' His shoulders tensed as his thoughts rampaged and he struggled against them.

Still tense, he let himself think of his past, though he it was something that still haunted him. Then he cleared his throat, and in that moment his voice cracked in a show of deep emotion. Then he spoke in an unsteady voice, "It is hard to remember... and impossible to forget..." The hobgoblin trailed off and swallowed as he tried to control his own voice. But as the memories came, another problem came with it. His vision blurred as his red eyes filled with tears.

He took a few deep breaths as his body trembled slightly, still struggling to regain any sort of dignity as he continued, "I was two years old when I came to my rightful place, Milady. Young, but... my kind ages faster than yours and I remember it. We were a small tribe, with only a few warriors, but we were like family." He could remember it, though the memories were distorted by age and time. He looked up to the warriors as if they were heroes of legend, they seemed so strong and daring. The women in his minds eye were beautiful and maiden-like. Not all of the memories were pleasant. At the best of times, it was a meager life.

The images in his head coursed onward unbidden and as a few tears fell, his vision cleared but his mind clouded, and all he could see was his past and the wet spots on the floorboards. His body trembled further and his shoulders shook once before he could continue, "Then... a great enemy came. It sought one person in the tribe... demanded his blood. His death. It came for me. But... they protected me, whose life is worthless." He shook again as his hands clenched into fists, though the object of his rage was himself this time. Even now, he felt that they should have let him die. His back arched further as he practically curled up into a ball, and though his voice was affected he continued to speak in relative calm, "My mother took me in her arms and ran, while the others stood to fight. But there... there was no fighting that... enemy. I watched over my mother's shoulders and cried as I watched it savagely kill them. It practically tore them to pieces. I lost sight of it in the trees, but when my mother reached the road she ran into a large patrol of slavers. Large enough to give the enemy pause..."

He took another deep breath as he was still almost prostate on the floor, and he struck it pitifully as he dealt with the painful memories, "They'd be alive if they gave me up. But instead, they died and it was a flawed system that saved me. Some days I wonder which fate would have been better. Ahem..." Oota cleared his throat once more and shifted on his legs, trying to hide him wiping his tears on his knee and summoning the courage to ask the magnetic sorceress one thing. To beg her even, "Please... don't ask me of that time... or tell anyone. At least, for a while. It's hard to talk about, Milady. Powerful hard to even think."
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:26 PM
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A Letter to Home
Winter watched as Oota bent under the pressure of his feelings. Her hand stretched out as if to touch him, but she paused and brought it back into her lap and waited instead. Her own eyes began to water when she heard the pain in his voice as he began to tell his story. We were like family... his words struck that same chord within her that Khole's had the other day. Three people who couldn't look more different, yet really felt the same things inside, cared for the same things inside.

A few tears streamed down her cheeks when the hobgoblin struck the floor. She knew that feeling too, when there was so much pain inside that you just wanted to force it out somehow, but no matter how hard one pounded against a floor or a wall, it never helped. Not really.

The sorceress looked up at the lights still dancing along the ceiling while Oota attempted to compose himself. He was proud, and she could at least offer him that after dredging up such painful memories. When he asked her to let it lie, she did reach out and placed her hand on his knee, gently squeezing. "Of course, I'm sorry I brought it up. The guilt of being a survivor..." she waited for him to meet her gaze, to see that she understood, "...it can be overwhelming."

After giving his knee a pat, she withdrew her hand and rose to her feet. "Well, I've put this off for long enough. I need to compose a letter and see it makes its way to Strathwood." She rummaged through her pack, procured some stationary and writing utensils, and spread them out on a small desk. "I was hoping to have time to visit before we set off, but that's not going to be possible... and let's face it, there's a real possibility we won't be coming back. I need to make sure things are set in order, that they're prepared." She spoke quickly as she organized her things and sat at the desk, but then paused and turned to look at Oota. "I want you to know, you'll always be welcome there, even if I don't make it back." With that said she took up her beautifully crafted ink pen, dipped it in a vial, and began writing with impeccable penmanship. "I wouldn't mind if you kept talking while I do this. The act of writing, it's methodical... calming, but it doesn't take all my attention."
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